Difference Between CTS and CLS

Difference between CTS and CLS

CTS stands for Common Type System

CLS stands for Common Language Specification

It describes how types are declared, used and managed in the runtime and facilitates cross-language integration, type safety, and high performance code execution.

The types defined by the CTS are broadly classified into value types and reference types. Value types are those which themselves contain data/methods/resources represented by the type - like an integer variable is a value type. Reference types are those which refer to value types and a pointer or a reference is an example of such a type. All types derive from 'System.Object' base type.

It is a specification that defines the rules to support language integration in such a way that programs written in any language, yet can interoperate with one another, taking full advantage of inheritance, polymorphism, exceptions, and other features. These rules and the specification are documented in the ECMA proposed standard document.
Power of CTS:

CTS is a superset of the CLS,i.e.,all .NET languages will not support all the types in the CTS.
Power of CLS:

CLS is a subset of the CTS which all .NET languages are expected to support.

Integer” datatype in VB and “int” datatype in C++ are not compatible, so the interfacing between them is very complicated. In order that two different languages can communicate, “Integer” in VB6 and “int” in C++ will convert to System.int32 which is datatype of CTS.


In c#, we will declare int i;
In vb, we will declare dim i as integer

Basically Microsoft will convert all this data types to the generic data types. So, if we write code in different languages that will convert into language independent code. This is called Common type system(CTS).

A class written in C# can inherit from a class written in VB.

So we can say that using this specification (CLSCompliant attribute) in our programs (written in any language), the type is forced to conform to the rules of CLS and programs can interoperate with one another, taking full advantage of polymorphism, inheritance and other features.

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